Do It Your… Self Help
As I addressed in my previous article, D.I.Y.†3.1 has been a movement against corporate America and has become a way to achieve your goals by going around — not through — the System.†3.2 And based on bookstore categorization, Do It Yourself is the section for How To instructional books explaining methods to remodel your house, save money, and countless other topics for Dummies.†3.3 There is even Do It Yourself Psychology — Self Help books. From Deepak Chapra†3.4 and the rest of the Oprah Book Club†3.5 to learning all you need to know in kindergarten. †3.6 Is it just me, or does it seem like there are times when DIY just doesn’t do it? DIY Dentistry, DIY Brain surgery, DIY any surgery. DIY Psychology falls in that list for me.
At the same time, Self-Help in DIY fields like zines†3.7 has seemed part and parcel. “Ben is Dead”†3.8 was a big one during the zine heyday of the 90’s. Creator Darby†3.9 made it about an ex, and her previous zine was the “I Hate Brenda Newsletter”†3.10 — which helped her cope with the effect that Shannen Doherty’s†3.11 Beverly Hills 90210†3.12 character had on her. Others like Dishwasher Pete†3.13 wrote more about experiences shared — a topic Vetted Word’s own Tavius Dyer†3.14 touches on in his “God’s Will.” †3.15
Writers are a notoriously troubled lot. Alcoholics, †3.16 suicides, †3.17 junkies†3.18 and alcoholics. †3.19 The one’s we remember are usually — Beats†3.20 excepted — not the ones who write about their troubles like a diary entry. They write out of their troubles, not about them. And when they do hint at their troubles, you need an English degree to wade through the symbolism, metaphor, and rhetoric. For instance, while Emily Dickinson’s poetry†3.21 is filled with death imagery, she never wrote “I’m sad, I want to die.” She was sad, did want to die, and did, but she never put it so plainly.
Writers will often explain that they write because they need to. What they don’t say is that some also have to share it. I’m one of those writers. That’s why I liked working with Vetted Word†3.22 and how it encouraged me to vet my words. And many writers have to write to excise demons, confess sins, speak to God. It’s their Church, their Therapy. I write for you, my audience. I write to entertain over explain, express or expunge. I may be all about the DIY, but I DIFY — I Do It For You!
We’re told to write what we know. †3.23 We should be encouraged to learn about the things we want to write about. Do I have to be a detective to write a mystery? Or can I just read a book about Forensics? †3.24 Or just watch Monk? †3.25 Even Sci-Fi writers include some aspect of their personal lives in their stories. Their fantasies at least. And all writers want to convey a message to their audience.
After attending a Vetted Word “7 Minutes in Heaven” show, †3.26 I hung out with a friend†3.27 catching up through meandering conversation. We kept coming back to one topic: Manifesting your Dreams. It’s one thing to write out your dreams, fears, plans, it’s altogether something else to make what you write be the manifestation of the dreams and dissipation of the fear. For me, in many ways, “Tom Boyle’s Name Dropping with Tom Boyle, by Tom Boyle” and performing, editing and photographing for Vetted Word have been the manifestation of the dream, not the dreaming. †3.28
The second article for Tom Boyle’s column “Tom Boyle’s Name Dropping with Tom Boyle, by Tom Boyle.
†3.2 Corporate America and the System
In In-Light-In-Me, Anthony Pineda had a very good rant and poem about Corporate America and the System on Vetted Word.
They got a Dummies book for everything from Constructing Your Manga Plot to Religions to Funeral Ettiquette. They even have Psychology for Dummies, including Self-Hypnosis, which sounds dangerous… who will snap their fingers, what will you do when they do?
†3.4 Deepak Chapra
Deepak discusses a lot of the same topics of True Self, healing, and connecting with a higher power as did many of the Vetted Word writers. For instance, I found this in his daily aspirations: My soul can lead me to healing. I will become one with my true self. – Deepak Chopra. Personally, I think he’s overrated for stating the obvious and rewording Confucius, various Scriptures and Buddha. Projection always hides a feeling you don’t want to look at. – Deepak Chopra. Yeah, that’s the point!
†3.5 the Oprah Book Club
Deepak Chapra is one of Oprah’s favorites. The Club got a lot of publicity when it was discovered that 2005 pick “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey was not completely a memoir.
†3.6 learning all you need to know in kindergarten
“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. I find it interesting that he was in the band Rock Bottom Remainders, a band that included Stephen King, Matt Groening, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou and many other writers.
What?! Have you not read the previous “Tom Boyle’s Name Dropping with Tom Boyle, by Tom Boyle” articles!?!
†3.8 Ben is Dead
A zine from L.A. that covered art, music and pop culture from 1988 to 1999.
†3.10 The I Hate Brenda Newsletter
Darby Romeo’s beginning, attacking Shannon Doherty’s character Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210. It even lead to The I Hate Brenda Book.
†3.11 Shannen Doherty
A lot of synchronicity has been occurring as I write my columns. After writing the first draft of this article, I saw a biography per chance on Shannen. She’s not a bitch, she’s a strong woman! Somebody give her work.
†3.12 Beverly Hills 90210
Aaron Spelling’s T&A high school soap opera featuring his daughter Tori’s and her friends T&A. They actually made a new version of this show!
†3.13 Dishwasher Pete
Pete Jordan, writer of the zine Dishwasher. He set out to wash dishes in all 50 states, and wrote about his experiences on that journey. It also lead to a book.
†3.14 Tavius Dyer
I’m going to write a section about Mr. Dyer in “My DIY Heroes”.
†3.15 “God’s Will”
In his Vetted Word column Circumscribed Equilateral, Tavius discussed journaling as one means to connect to God, and sharing that with others.
Drunk writers: Edgar Allen Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Keroauc, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, Stephen Crane, James Joyce, Jack London…
Ann Waldron looks into the phenomenon of the alcoholic writer in this article.
Writers who committed suicide: Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, John Kennedy Toole, Virginia Woolf, Anne Sexton, drunk ole Papa Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson.
Writers on drugs: William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack London, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (or at least Sherlock Holmes).
There are so many… Dorothy Parker, O. Henry, Eugene O’Neill, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Sinclair Lewis, Raymond Chandler, John Cheever, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Malachy McCourt, Charles Bukowski (he was one helluva drunk!) and apparently even Stephen King.
Seriously, read the previous “Tom Boyle’s Name Dropping with Tom Boyle, by Tom Boyle” articles!!!
The Beats get an exception here because they occasionally did, and frequently in Keroauc’s case, write stream-of-consciousness journal-entry style.
†3.21 Emily Dickinson’s poetry
The one I thought of in particular was this one about the fly she knows will feed on her once she dies:
I HEARD a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.
The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.
I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me I
Could make assignable, — and then
There interposed a fly,
With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed, and then
I could not see to see.
†3.22 Vetted Word
†3.23 Write what we know
Of uncertain origin, but attributed to Mark Twain, Larry David, Rilke, and with a nice spin from Gore Vidal: “In any case, write what you know will always be excellent advice to those who ought not to write at all.” Vickie Britton has an interesting article about it at Writing Fiction Suite 101.
†3.26 “7 Minutes in Heaven” show
Our shows, held on the first Monday of the month at Shine Nightclub, 1337 Mission St. (between 9th and 10th Streets) San Francisco, CA. Check out the pictures I took.
†3.27 I hung out with a friend
None of your business who!
Just thought I’d leave you with a little Kate Bush music. This is funky Australian with didgeridoos and lyrics about kangas.
Copyright © Tom Boyle